Bellah to speak on
Protestantism and multiculturalism
Robert M. Bellah, co-author of the best-selling books Habits
of the Heart and The Good Society, will speak at the
University on Nov. 9.
the Elliott Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University
of California at Berkeley, will deliver this semester's Lecture
in Culture and Social Theory, sponsored by U.Va.'s Institute
for Advanced Studies in Culture and the Department
of Sociology. His talk, titled "The Protestant Structure
of American Culture: Multiculture or Monoculture?" will be
held at 3:30 p.m. in Minor Hall Auditorium. At 10 a.m. Nov. 10,
a panel discussion with Bellah will be held in the Rotunda Dome
Room with responses by U.Va. faculty members James D. Hunter,
sociology professor and director of the institute, and associate
professor of religious studies Heather Warren, with sociology
professor Murray Milner moderating.
is widely known as senior author of Habits of the Heart and The
Good Society, which identify tensions between individualism, a
sense of community and social institutions as dominant characteristics
of contemporary American life. Habits of the Heart, first published
in 1985, became one of the most discussed interpretations of recent
his lecture, he will consider how the U.S. has proven hospitable
in recent years to the idea of multiculturalism. He will argue
that while multiculturalism rejects the "melting pot"
metaphor in favor of a "salad bowl" of cultural identities,
the result may not be any different. Protestantism, he will argue,
supplies a deep structure of American culture and carries a powerful
message of individualism. Thus, sentiments such as "we're
all different and unique: respect that" may not challenge
our dominant culture, but only be a form of it. Bellah will conclude
by considering what a genuine challenge to the dominant culture
might actually look like.